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  • Writer's pictureKaren Bobinski

Are Givers really Takers? ~ I was

“Givers are kind and do good deeds for others without wanting anything in return. While takers try to get as much as they can from other people - its all about getting their own needs met”

Is it better to be a Giver or a Taker? Sitting at brunch with a close friend the other day and we were pondering life and her current struggles. A domino effect of unforeseen circumstances have left finances tight and this sweet soul stressed. It takes a fair bit to ruffle this chicks feathers because she is a whiz with finances and planning ahead.

Even the coolest people have trials and tribulations

She told me how there have been some recent offers of help which she kindly thanked the perspective donor for but graciously declined....and when I asked why she couldn’t accept the help offered and ease her burden...she adamantly  replied “ because I am NOT a TAKER”. No...she is most certainly not. She is an extreme giver...the kindest of souls...would in fact, give everything she has to others so that they won’t suffer, all the while causing her own suffering. Is that ok? Somewhere in all this there needs to be a balance.

life is a balancing act

While her determination to NOT be a Taker is noble...sometimes we need to realize that once in awhile we could use a little help too. And does this make you a Taker? Nope. It makes you a human, going through your own set of struggles and in the example of my dear friend who has spent her life is a little quid pro quo and the universe paying back her karmic debt. What exactly is the definition of a Giver and a Taker, and where do you fall?

Is one better than the other? I would readily admit I am a giver...I love being of service to others - likely why being a Paramedic is such a good fit for me...but I will also quickly admit that some of my past giving has been at my own expense and bank account depletion - mainly my energy bank account. That has not served me well.

In fact - a major component of my healing journey from Autoimmune disease has been learning to STOP agreeing to every request and focus more on my own health and well being. It has required me to accept help when I never wanted to be a “Taker”, (like my friend also strongly felt) ...but what I actually needed to do was really re define “Taker” and rewrite my story and understand that my receiving help when I needed it, in no way made me a Taker, and that some of my giving, was in fact Taker behavior.

self evaluation is both enlightening but at the same time heavy

Chronic illness FORCES you to have a lot of time for self discovery...and once you pick yourself up out of the depths of despair and actually do the heart centered work towards healing as I did ~you discover a lot about yourself. Was I genuinely a true Giver all the time ~ or was I actually giving with ulterior motives? Thereby making me a Taker?

Was my "giving" to the point of utter exhaustion actually doing a deed for others without wanting anything in return? Or was I secretly, deep down wanting something ?

If I was being truly honest with myself ...some of my past giving was in exchange or with the ulterior motive of wanting people to like be be accepted. I was doing it in the hopes of achieving recognition, be viewed as helpful and giving - qualities I wanted to emulate ~ even if it wasn't in my best interest to be giving at that time.

I was busting myself and neglecting the person I should be giving to most ...myself. And in the end ...generally my actions didn't change my status ~ because typically I was inclined to give to "Takers" who saw the "sucker" sign stamped on my forehead .

suckers usually are sweet ~ to their own detriment

Why did I put so much energy into doing for others? Was being a Giver really that great? But what was the alternative? Being a Taker just wasn't in my DNA...but in fact I wasn't always being a genuine giving with intent to receive appreciation was actually a form of taking...maybe it was in my DNA? Maybe I didn't really understand the concept of give and take and only focused on the extremes , thereby arguably convincing myself that true Takers were selfish and narcissistic. Was there an in-between ?

According to Author of "Give and Take" ~ Adam Grant, there are actually three types of people ; Givers, Takers and Matchers . Maybe we all need to strive more so towards being a equal balance between give and take...but wait...that means "tit for tat", and Matchers tend to not be as successful in their profession as while they root for the Giver, they will also try to take the Taker down.

Perhaps I was more of a Matcher?

You scratch my back ...I'll scratch yours

So is it better to be a Taker? 

You don’t often see Takers worn out, exhausted, mentally drained...they don’t spend time worrying what others think...they only think about themselves. They may have a streak of laziness where they don’t want to put in time and effort and instead look to others to do the work for them. It’s always the “whats in it for me” mentality.

Takers, although not over worked and burdened with worry of others dont actually end up on top.  From the outside they seem to have it easy because they just keep taking and receiving... in fact they don't establish meaningful relationships and statistically under perform in their careers and get passed over for promotions partly based on their inability to form relationships and networks. Therefore being a Taker isn’t the best option, either.

Takers tend to be loners in the end

Let’s go back to the beginning of this story and my friend who was afraid to be a Taker or asking for help. Asking for advice or accepting assistance in fact provides the opportunity for others to feel fulfilled and provide meaningful contributions to your life by inviting them to be a Giver. 

being an "Authentic Giver" means you give without any expectation in return. Balance is knowing when to give, when to take, and when to match. Giving without expecting to receive but also without causing undue stress or hardship to yourself. Taking when someone genuinely wants to give without feeling guilty for receiving or with a plan in mind to help one another - which then incorporates the matching strategy. 

Giving should not cause you to suffer. Giving should be based on your pure intention to help others without sacrificing yourself. Your first responsibility is to yourself. So it is OK to say no. It is ok to accept help, and it is ok to agree to be helpful in a way that is mutually beneficial ...and none of these are selfish.

Give, take, match...balance

So what kind of person are you? I thought I was a genuine Giver, only to learn I actually was more so of a Matcher, leaning towards Taker. However, after learning to say no, set healthy boundaries, treat my “people pleasing disease”, I can now truly say I am genuinely more so an authentic Giver with a healthy small dose of Taker and Matcher thrown in for balance.

Take this fun, informative quiz to discover your type

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